Highest Point – Grasmere to Keswick

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Easedale.

After all that waffle, in my last post, about my aspirational hare-brained schemes, here’s the evidence of what happens when one of them comes to fruition. Or not.

I’d been planning this one for a while. When I say planning, I mean that in the vaguest of ways. ‘Thinking about’ would be more accurate. Attention to detail was completely lacking.

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Sourmilk Gill.

My family had all bought tickets for Highest Point, an outdoor music festival in Lancaster, not to be confused with Lancaster Jazz Festival, or with The Lancaster Music Festival which is mostly staged in pubs. Why wasn’t I joining them? Well, I was tempted by Kaiser Chiefs and even more so by Basement Jaxx, but the latter were playing a DJ set, and frankly, whatever the attractions, they couldn’t compete with the prospect of a weekend of early summer walking.

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Tarn Crag

So, TBH very kindly dropped me off in Milnthorpe, with about 30 seconds to spare, and I caught the 555 bus through Kendal and Windermere to Grasmere.

I must use the bus more often. It’s a bit slow. And we did sit in Kendal Bus Station for quite some time, for no apparent reason. But I enjoyed being a passenger, and taking in the views, especially after the front seats at the top became available in Kendal, and not having to worry about parking.

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Easedale Tarn.

Anyway, when I finally arrived in Grasmere, it was bright and sunny and warm for once, much more so than the photos suggest. I popped into Lucia’s for some extra provisions (highly recommended) and then set-off up Easedale in the company of two gentlemen from the North-East, one of whom was very keen to ask for directions (“Is that Helm Crag?”) and tell me about his route, their accommodation in Keswick and so on. The other gent was as taciturn as his companion was garrulous, which made me feel like I was intruding.

Over the years, I’ve looked at maps of the Lakes (particularly my colourful old inch-map, which has a lot to answer for) and thought that I ought to walk along the broad central spine of hills from the Langdale Pikes northwards. I’ve also often thought that it would be brilliant to walk the long ridge from Threkeld to Ambleside over the Dodds and Helvellyn and Fairfield etc. So, here was my madcap scheme – to (sort-of) combine those two, with a bivvy in between, probably on High Rigg I thought.

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Dor Beetle.

Since I was using the 555, a start in Grasmere would be easier than trying to get to Langdale, and it would also make it convenient to include Tarn Crag.

It was a really glorious day and on Tarn Crag I sat for quite some time, enjoying the pasty I’d bought in Grasmere and video-calling my mum and dad, to share the views with them.

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Tarn Crag.
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From Tarn Crag Helm Crag, Heron Pike and Nab Scar, Loughrigg and Silver How.

Since I’d already climbed High Raise earlier in the year, I contemplated trying to contour around from Tarn Crag to Greenup Edge, hopefully visiting a remote little tarn on route, but in the end I couldn’t resist the temptation to climb High Raise again.

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High Raise from Tarn Crag. Codale Head is the prominent pimple in the centre.
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Codale Tarn.
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Bilberries in flower.
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Pavey Ark, Harrison Stickle and Sergeant Man.

I had another stop on Codale Head, and sat for while.

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Newlands Fells, North-western Fells and Skiddaw.

And then another bit of a sit on High Raise. The views from High Raise are expansive. On this occasion I was sharing those views with quite a few people, most of whom seemed to be participating in some sort of organised challenge walk, with people in teams; I wondered whether it was a corporate bonding exercise, based on some of the conversations I overheard.

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Bowfell, Esk Pike, Scafell Pike, Great End, Great Gable across Langstrath.

Not to worry, they were all heading down to Grasmere from Greenup Edge, having started, I gathered, in Langdale. In fact, the remainder of the day was very, very quiet, at least until I reached Keswick.

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Ullscarf, with the Helvellyn etc ridge behind.
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Looking back to High Raise.
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Helvellyn and Fairfield from near the top of Ullscarf.

It took a while to reach the top of Ullscarf, so another rest and a sit-down seemed appropriate. I have a bit of a soft spot for Ullscarf. Years ago I bivvied a couple of times with friends on the slopes above Harrop Tarn and would then climb Ullscarf via its eastern hinterland early the following morning, often in thick mist. In the days before sat-nav, I was chuffed when I actually managed to arrive on the summit. Those empty slopes above Thirlmere always seemed to be a good place to spot Red Deer.

I finished the last of my water on Ullscarf and then dropped into the top of Ullscarf Gill to refill my water bottle.

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From Ullscarf: High Tove, Raven Crag, Skiddaw and Blencathra beyond.
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The cairn on Standing Crag. Last time I was here there was a fence.

Standing Crag is a Birkett, but not a Wainwright. It’s well worth a visit in my opinion. I didn’t stop for a sit here. It was well into the afternoon, and it was becoming clear that I’d probably bitten off more than I could chew.

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Blea Tarn and High Tove. I think the lump beyond the tarn must be Grange Fell, which I don’t think I’ve ever been up.
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Looking back to Blea Tarn and Ullscarf.
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Shivery Knott, Shivery Man, Middle Crag, High Tove.
It doesn’t look all that boggy does it? Compared to some of the treacherous mires lurking in wait to swallow unsuspecting walkers in the Pennines, for example, it was a walk in the park. If the park is mostly about 6 inches under water, with occasional deeper sections for added fun.

I can’t say I was overly fond of this section. I’d originally thought I would do an out and back to tick-off Armboth Fell, but with time marching on, decided to leave that particular delight to another day. When hell freezes over. Or the bogs on Armboth Fell freeze over, at the very least. It will give me an excuse to climb Fisher Crag. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway.

I think I was thoroughly underwhelmed by High Tove. I don’t seem to have taken any photos anyway.

When I arrived at some flagged sections of path I was mightily relieved.
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High Seat.

It seems that a consortium of charities have been restoring the peat bogs here. As well as flagging the paths (sadly with some very soggy gaps between the flagged sections) they’ve also created little dams to create some really wet areas…

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It was lovely, in a very wet kind of way.

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The trig pillar on High Seat.
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Bleaberry Fell from High Seat. Skiddaw and Blencathra beyond.

If I hoped that reaching the rocky top of High Seat would spell an end to the bog, I was destined to be disappointed. But it was drier, at least. And after Bleaberry Fell, the bog-snorkelling comes to an end.

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Skiddaw, Keswick and Bassenthwaite Lake from Bleaberry Fell.
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Bleaberry Fell from Walla Crag.
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Derwent Water and the surrounding hills from Walla Crag.
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Keswick and Skiddaw from Walla Crag
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Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite Lake from Walla Crag.

I had a long overdue rest on Walla Crag. I must have looked all-in, as a bloke who walked past asked me if I was okay. Which I was, of course. The light was lovely.

I did briefly contemplate a bivvy on (or near) Walla Crag, but I’d been promising myself a take-away tea in Keswick all day and the draw of a greasy, high-calorie meal won out.

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Keswick and Skiddaw and the setting sun from my descent route.

It was still light, just about, as I arrived on the outskirts of town, but it was also almost 10 o’clock, and I was striding out whilst using Google Maps in an attempt to work out where the nearest open shop was. Fortunately, I found a little grocery store which was still serving and stocked up on water and ginger beer. It had been thirsty work!

One of the pubs near the Moot Hall had a live band who were playing an excellent selection of covers. (Heart of Glass, Take Me Out, Maggie May, for example, if memory serves me right.) It was very loud out in the street, lord knows what it was like inside the pub. The town centre was extremely busy with revellers, I suppose I probably stuck-out like a sore-thumb. Or a sun-burned, muddy, sweaty, but very happy hill-walker. Anyway, I found a bench where I could listen to the band and tucked into my well-earned donner and chips. So I got my live music in the end, on top of a day’s walking.

I’d already decided by now that High Rigg (where I envisaged a soft heather bed and a very comfortable night) was much too far away. I was also having doubts about my proposed return route – it would be both longer and with more up and down than the walk I had just done. Too much, I thought.

I opted instead for a midnight ramble on Latrigg.

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It was dark, but the moon was bright and it’s a wide, well-made path, so I didn’t really need my headtorch. After a warm day, there was now a cooling breeze. Actually, it was pretty windy and quite cool.

I found what seemed like a reasonable spot, overlooking the town, put on every item of clothing I’d brought, including a balaclava, and climbed into my sleeping and bivvy bags.

How did I sleep? Well, better than I’d expected, which is to say – some. The ground was a bit hard, without a cushioning of heather. Also, at some point during the night, the wind changed direction and I woke up to find that it was blowing over my shoulders and directly into my sleeping bag. I’m usually reluctant to completely seal my bag over my head, it’s a bit claustrophobic I find, but I did that now and then slept much more soundly.

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Keswick and Derwent Water from Latrigg.

The app gives just over 20 miles all told, and almost 1300m of climbing (which is a bit of an underestimate I think, but maybe not too far out).

Wainwrights: Tarn Crag, High Raise, Ullscarf, High Tove, High Seat, Bleaberry Fell, Walla Crag, Latrigg.

Birketts: all of the above, plus Codale Head, Low White Stones, Standing Crag, Watendlath Fell, Shivery Knott, Middle Crag (I narrowly bypassed Blea Tarn Fell, but, fortunately, I’ve been up there before).

I’m grateful to Mr Birkett for all of those extra ticks: fourteen tops feels like a better return on the effort than eight. Some of them are a bit underwhelming however, but if you like walking in the Lakes (and why wouldn’t you?) I would recommend checking out Codale Head and Standing Crag, I think they should be in everybody’s lists.

And my new plan for the morrow?

You’ll have to wait!

(A short playlist for this post: ‘Higher Ground’ Stevie Wonder, ‘Gotta Keep Walking’ Willy Mason, ‘May You Never’ John Martyn.)

Highest Point – Grasmere to Keswick

Far Arnside Daffs, The Knott and New Friends

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The day after my outing on Sheffield Pike. More sunshine. A local walk for a change.

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Green Hellebore.
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I took ‘the top’ path from Far Arnside instead of walking lower down by the shore, I can’t remember why.
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Heathwaite.
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Very hazy – no Lake District hills in view.

At Arnside Tower Farm I waited ages for the traffic to clear – the herd were being fetched in for milking and I waited until they’d all passed before crossing the track they were using. A couple of the farms collies joined me as I walked away from the farm. I’ve never owned a dog and have no intention of getting one, but if I ever changed my mind I would want a collie – they seem like such intelligent dogs. I thought this pair would turn back when we passed the Tower, but they didn’t. Maybe they would eventually head back to the farm if I continued down the lane toward the campsite? No.

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In the end, I turned back myself and they followed me all the way back to the farmyard, at which point I apparently lost my magnetism and they trotted off to investigate something else.

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More hellebores…
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…and more daffs on the lane along the perimeter of Holgates campsite.
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Hazel Catkins – male flowers.
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Tiny female Hazel flowers.
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Comma butterfly.
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Primroses.
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The Bay from The Cove, from a mid-week post-work walk.
Far Arnside Daffs, The Knott and New Friends

Home from Yealand Storrs

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Thrang Brow Lime Kiln.

Early January, a late afternoon start, so not much light to play with. A dropped me off in Yealand, where Storrs Lane meets Thrang Brow Lane, which is also where the right-of-way sets off across Yealand Allotment. I left that path almost immediately, passing Thrang Brow Lime Kiln, and climbing towards Thrang Brow, so that views opened up over Leighton Moss.

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Leighton Moss. The ‘high’ ground on the right of the meres is Heald Brow.
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Leighton Moss.
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Cartmell Fell and Whitbarrow from Thrang Brow.
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Hawes Water.
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Hawes Water.

From Hawes Water I walked home via Eaves Wood. My winter walks often finish like this…

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I can’t put my finger on why, but, in the winter at least, although I don’t like the short winter days when I’m at work, I do really enjoy a walk which finishes in the last of the light, or later.

Home from Yealand Storrs

January, High Tides and Partly Cloudies

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Three days at the beginning of January to finish our Winterval* break. First off, an Arnside Knott walk. As you can see, it was fairly bright, but very cloudy elsewhere, so the views were highly truncated. No Cumbrian Fells on display, and to the south…

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…Warton Crag looking a bit hazy, and the Forest of Bowland, usually the horizon, nowhere to be seen.

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Flooded fields and Silverdale Moss.
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Low winter sun over Humphrey Head.
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Sunset.
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The next day’s walk, our ‘standard’ Jenny Brown’s Point circuit, is represented by this single photo of high tide in Quicksand Pool. A grey day!

The next day, a Monday, in lieu of our New Year’s Day Bank Holiday, we had four Roe Deer in the garden: a male and three females.

He was easiest to photograph, since he didn’t move about too much, often sitting quite still…

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…also giving himself a thorough grooming…

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…occasionally shaking himself in much the same way a dog would, and every now and then having a bit of a snack…

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The females were much more intent on feeding themselves. They have a long gestation period and so maybe they were all pregnant and that was the reason for their greater appetite?

I took hundreds of photos, many of them very poor, but it was interesting to be watching them. I was surprised by how catholic their tastes were. We are all too aware that in the spring and summer the deer will come into our garden and eat lots of flowers, but in the middle of winter they seemed keen on just about anything green.

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Even the rather leathery looking leaves of our large Fatsia japonica didn’t escape unscathed.

Brambles and Ivy too were firmly on the menu…

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Through my zoom lens I could see the deers’ long tongues, seemingly well adapted for grasping leaves and tearing them from the plants.

Two of the does roamed the garden together, never straying from each others’ sides.

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The other female occasionally joined them, but mostly plowed her own furrow. Then she joined the buck on our lawn…

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And they sat, companionably ignoring one another…

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I’m not sure how long I would have sat watching the deer, but then I got an offer of a lift to Arnside from A, who is working in a Care Home there. It was raining a little, but the forecast was for better to come, so this seemed like too good an opportunity to miss.

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High tide – the Kent viaduct. Gummer How, Yewbarrow and Whitbarrow behind.
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Arnside Prom. This was a very high tide, the slipway here was almost submerged.

I walked around the coast, as far as the Coastguard station, from where I had to turn inland since the path was underwater.

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I followed the road to New Barns. The tide had receded somewhat, although the salt marsh was still inundated…

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From New Barns I was able to follow the shore again. It had stopped raining, and some blue sky started to appear.
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White Creek.
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Hampsfell and Meathop Fell across the Kent Estuary from White Creek.

The remainder of the walk was enlivened by my attempts to capture the crepuscular rays illuminating Morecambe Bay.

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Today is one of those excellent January partly cloudies in which light chooses an unexpected part of the landscape to trick out in gilt, and then shadow sweeps it away. You know you are alive. You take huge steps, trying to feel the planet’s roundness arc between your feet.

Anne Dillard from ‘Pilgrim at Tinker Creek’

I’ve quoted this before, but, somewhat to my surprise, it was ten years ago, so I think that’s okay. I’ve been slowing rereading ‘Pilgrim at Tinker Creek’, which put it in mind, but anyway I’ve come to think of days like this as Partly Cloudies.

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When I eventually got home, the three does had disappeared, but the buck was still stationed on our lawn, bold as brass. Nowhere else to be, no calls on his time. Nice work if you can get it!

*Winterval – not a term I ever normally use, but I thought I’d put it out there and see if anyone would bite!

January, High Tides and Partly Cloudies

Ingleborough Inversion

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Pen-y-Ghent.

Our little group of friends has been getting together for a weekend before Christmas for donkey’s years. We know what to expect from the weather – rain, rain and more rain. But not to worry, it’s a social weekend really, a chance to catch-up, eat too much food, retell ancient stories of times long gone and maybe sink a few beers.

So, this year, when Saturday morning revealed clear blue skies and sunshine, I think we were a bit unprepared. How else to explain the fact that we didn’t leave our accommodation at Gearstones Lodge until nearly midday, after our usual gargantuan cooked breakfast?

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Ingleborough.

We cut across the fields to Gauber, heading for a steep ascent of Park Fell.

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Whernside from Park Fell.
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Some of our group on Park Fell.

From Park Fell we followed a minor tread which accompanied the drystone wall to Simon Fell.

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D in a t-shirt on the fells in December! (I don’t think it was really that warm!)
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South and west of us everything low-lying was cloaked in a cloud inversion, a thick fog.

The cloud inversion was superb, I took lots of photographs – we probably all did – but they all look a bit the same! At the time we also had great fun trying to identify the high ground which was poking through the fog, but, out of context, I’m struggling to do the same with the photos. Not that I was very accurate at the time anyway. I think I managed to find at least three Pendle Hills!

I’ve seen photos from Morecambe FC’s home match that day, some of the boy’s friends were there, and I’m surprised that the match wasn’t abandoned, the visibility was so poor. I doubt that the opposing goalkeepers could see each other. Had you been down in the fog, you might have no idea of the sunshine and clear air so close at hand.

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Whernside, with the Howgills behind.
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Looking back the way we had come. The superb path which contours along the west side of the ridge would be our return route.

I’d been left well behind as we completed the final climb onto Ingleborough. Just as I arrived on the huge summit plateau I encountered B running back to meet me. My heart sank, I didn’t think he would have good news.

“Have you got a first-aid kit? S has spilt his chin open.”

Apparently, S had slipped and broken his fall with his chin. His hands were scratched and grazed too. Fortunately, by the time I reached the wind-shelter on the top, UF had produced a first-aid kit and a kind passer-by had also provided a suitable plaster.

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The Lake District fells from Ingleborough summit plateau.

We cleaned him up as best we could and improvised a dressing with a plaster and a covid face-mask.

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The inversion from Ingleborough summit.

The injury wasn’t as severe as last time he spilt his chin, but it was quite a deep wound and I thought that he might need stitches, so he and I left the others enjoying the views and their lunches to make a rapid return to Gearstones.

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Whernside catching late winter afternoon light.
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Looking back to Ingleborough.
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Little’ S striding out.
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Little S – with a good excuse to wear his mask around his chin.

S and I were talking about this walk recently and he described the light as ‘magical’. It’s good to know that he was still enjoying himself despite the considerable pain he must have been suffering.

B must have come haring after us, because he caught up with us as we descended towards Park Fell.

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It was only as arrived back at Gearstones that I remembered that our car was trapped in due to the double parking necessary to get all of our vehicles into the available space. I would have to wait anyway and needn’t really have rushed. It did give me a chance to have a quick shower while we waited. Our friend Doctor F, who had remained at Gearstones, had a look at the gash and was of the same mind, that S needed to visit casualty.

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AT Dr F’s suggestion, we phoned Westmorland General Hospital, in Kendal, to check that we’d be okay to go to their Minor Injuries Clinic, rather than the much bigger and much busier A&E at Lancaster. We were, and so S got seen very quickly. It was now several hours since his fall and the doctor told us that the wound was already healing well and that steri-strips would be sufficient. Anyway, S and I were even able to get back in time for the communal meal and subsequent festivities. (A lot of pool and table tennis in the games room, I think)

A stunning day, with just a little too much excitement for my liking. Accident prone Little S is very stoical about these things, perhaps because of all the practice he has had. He was bitten by a dog last weekend, whilst doing his paper round, and didn’t seem very bothered at all – in fact was adamant that we shouldn’t report the incident because the owner was “very nice and apologetic”.

Ingleborough Inversion

A Short Post About A Short Walk

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The usual view of the Howgill Fells.

Our standard weekend circuit around Jenny Brown’s Point. Except that, on this occasion, I was on my own for some reason. And, having started across the same field to the Green, with the usual views to the Howgill Fells, I turned right rather than left on Hollins Lane and then walked across Heald Brow rather than down through Fleagarth Wood.

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The Forest of Bowland from Heald Brow.
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Clougha Pike seen across Quicksand Pool.

And then, once I’d rounded Jenny Brown’s Point, I decided to walk around via the sands.

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Cow’s Mouth – note the two climbers negotiating the rising, highly vegetated ledge.

When ‘the sands’, turned out to be much wetter, muddier and clingy (TBH would say ‘clarty’) than I had anticipated, I retreated to the rather sketchy path along the cliff top. At least until I arrived at Know Point, just as the sun was setting…

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A Short Post About A Short Walk

Wrapping Up July.

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It remained hot. The kids, well A and B anyway, were joining friends for swims in the Bay at high tide. I’ve always regarded such behaviour as a sure sign of insanity, as the sea is not all that inviting here, being full of silt and murky brown and almost certainly full of unsavoury pollutants too, but finally I cracked and TBH and I cycled down to a spot near Jenny Brown’s Point a couple of times for a dip.

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And……it was very pleasant. Hopefully, we’ll get the right weather and do it again next summer.

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Carn Fadryn.

And then we went for our annual, marvellous, camping trip with old friends to Towyn Farm on the Llyn Peninsula. I remember that I did a lot of snorkelling in the first part of the week. The water was a lot colder than it had been in the Bay, but it was clear and there was lots to see as ever. Later in the week, the winds picked up and we switched to body surfing. Lots of games of Kubb and Molkky too. Beach cricket, frisbee throwing. All the usual fun.

Lots of walking happened too, but with B still suffering with his knee we generally opted to stay at the campsite/beach and keep him company, the only exception being the obligatory ascent of ‘Birthday Hill’ or Caryn Fadryn.

I apparently took no photos at all, apart from the rather poor one above of some of the Naughty Nine on Carn Fadryn’s summit.

Inexplicable. I did take lots of pictures in the garden after we returned home though! So here’s one of those:

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Edit – TBH to the rescue – I did take more photos at Towyn, but using TBH’s phone – I think mine had no charge. So here’s a selection of photos, some of which I took and some of which are TBH’s work:

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On the campsite – Chocolate Brownie for the Birthday Boy – complete with Candles.
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Back on Carn Fadryn – we always have a long sit on the top. The views demand it.
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UF and the EWO – almost certainly discussing the weather.
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The Birthday Boy on Birthday Hill (although this was a couple of days after his actual birthday)
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Late night beach cricket. Should have been playing with a white ball.
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Bowled!
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The boys on Andy’s SUPB. They loved it, B in particular.
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Packing up – deflating the rubber rings.
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Obviously the travel restrictions over the last two years have been a pain in the neck, but if I’m allowed to go to Wales for a week every summer, I reckon I can get by; with a little help from my friends anyway.

Wrapping Up July.

Early May, Mostly Birds

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Buzzard

A post to cover the first half of May, excepting for a weekend walk with friends which I’m saving for a separate post. These first couple of photos are from a wander around Gait Barrows. There was actually a pair of Buzzards soaring overhead. I took lots of photos whilst not straying too far from cover, because I’m very wary of Buzzards in the spring and summer.

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Cowslips
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Sunset over Coniston Fells from Arnside Knott.
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Late light, Foulshaw Moss

I went to Foulshaw frequently, sometimes on consecutive evenings. It was often quite cool by the time I got there. Sometimes I did see the butterflies and dragonflies which I’d hoped to see, but rarely managed to get any photographs.

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Whitbarrow Scar from Foulshaw Moss
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Reed Bunting.

I think I saw at least one Reed Bunting during every visit. I even started to recognise their song.

This poster…

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…is on display in the hide by the bird feeders. Why did I take a photo of it – purely vanity! – some of the photos on it are mine, from the blog. Fame at last!

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Tree-creeper.
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Coal Tit.
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House Sparrow.

Although I always had a wander around first, on many of my visits I ended up sitting in that hide and photographing birds on and by the feeders for quite some time.

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Water Rail.

Initially, when I noticed this Water Rail, I quickly snapped a couple of photos, thinking, for some reason, that it was a Moorhen. I suppose the shape and the beak are similar, but otherwise there’s little resemblance. Then, when it dawned on me what I was looking at, I turned my attention from the feeders to the Water Rail beneath them. I’ve occasionally seen Water Rail before, at Leighton Moss, when the meres were frozen over. But only briefly. I’ve more often heard them: they make an extraordinary racket, squealing like pigs. I’ve never photographed one before. I assumed that I was incredibly lucky, but a couple of visits after this one, I was talking to a lady who told me: “Oh, he’s always there.” And on another visit, a Wildlife Trust volunteer told me that he thought that Water Rails were becoming less shy and are now often seen beneath feeders in various wetland reserves.

Oh well, I was still very chuffed to have had such a good view of what has always been a very elusive bird.

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Reed Bunting.
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Goldfinches and Lesser Redpoll.
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Lesser Redpoll.
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Male Lesser Redpoll.
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Pheasant.
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Crepuscular Rays from The Lots.
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Crepuscular Rays over The Bay.
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Orchids on The Lots.

This photo was my attempt to emulate an amazing photo of these orchids which I’d seen online. At the time that I took it, I was disappointed with it, because it’s not a patch on the photo which inspired it, but with hindsight I rather like it – it does at least hint at the profusion of orchids on that area of The Lots.

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Ramsons, Bottoms Wood.
Early May, Mostly Birds

An Early Purple, Atomic Eggs and Morecambe Skies

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Early Purple Orchid, The Lots.

A post to round of the final week of April. The orchid is from and a short Sunday afternoon stroll across The Lots. Earlier in the day I’d had a walk along the Lune with The Tower Captain, whilst our respective lads were training at Underley Park, home of Kirkby Lonsdale RUFC.

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River Lune near Kirkby Lonsdale.
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Pipe Bridge over the Lune…
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Carrying water from Haweswater to Heaton Park reservoir in Manchester.
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Harmony Hall and Laburnum House in Milnthorpe.
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These last two photos from a lazy evening stroll whilst A was dancing.

The next time she has a lesson, I was more ambitious and drove to park by Leven’s Bridge for a walk by the River Kent.

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Force Falls, River Kent.

This circular route was a firm favourite when the kids were younger. It’s around three miles – not too taxing for little legs. Not bad for an evening stroll either.

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Solomon’s Seal by the Kent.
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River Kent.

Later in the walk, I encountered both the Bagot Goats and the Bagot Fallow Deer, both unique to the Levens Deer Park. I took photos of the goats, but it was too dark by then. (This post, from the early days of the blog, has photos of both, and of the boys when they were cute and not towering teenagers)

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Midland Hotel Morecambe, from the Battery. It’s here that, hopefully, the Eden Project North will be built.
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Lake District Fells from Morecambe Prom.
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Midland Hotel again. Arnside Knott behind and right of the small building on the Stone Jetty.

TBH and I had a half-hour stroll along Morecambe Promenade, prior to picking up B from meeting his friends in Heysham.

An Early Purple, Atomic Eggs and Morecambe Skies

Three Evening Outings

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I didn’t get out half as much this summer for after walk wanders as I usually do. I made excuses about the being too busy with driving A to and from dancing lessons, but these three evening walks from the same week in the tail end of April give the lie to that – so, obviously, I just didn’t make enough effort as the summer went on.

But anyway – back to the week when I was still trying. On the Monday evening, I dropped A off in Milnthorpe and drove the short distance to park in Heversham and climb Heversham Head. Bizarrely, in nearly thirty years of living nearby I’ve never climbed it before. In my defence, on the OS map there’s no path shown – I think it was Conrad who alerted me to the fact that there is actually access to the top. I followed the route in this leaflet (I think the field boundaries shown might be slightly misleading). Very good it was too, but it’s a shame I hadn’t set off earlier since the very flat light rather spoiled the extensive views.

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I shall have to come this way again, although I’m slightly put off by the many pinch-stiles, some of which are very tight for the more portly gentleman, and one of which had me thinking I was irretrievably stuck and contemplating having to wait there, like Winnie the Pooh in Rabbit’s burrow, until I had lost some weight.

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Dallam Hall

The following night was brighter, and I was out earlier. This time I walked from where A has her lessons, down through Milnthorpe, through the grounds of Dallam Hall, beside the River Bela, and out to where the Bela flows into the Kent estuary.

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River Bela – Heversham Head prominent on the right-hand side in the background.
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River Bela and Milnthorpe Bridge.
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River Bela and Milnthorpe.
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Harmony Hall.
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It’s always very sobering to be confronted with evidence of sleepy little Milnthorpe’s past as a slaving port.

Incidentally, I’m a huge fan of both Cicerone Press, these days based in Kendal, and of Mr Unsworth.

On the Friday evening, with no driving duties to undertake, I drove straight from work to the Rigg Lane carpark, for an evening ascent of Clougha Pike.

On my way up, I was tempted away from my usual route by a path which leading up into Windy Clough. A thin path took me onto slopes of shattered stones and boulders on the left side of the valley. The path seemed to split frequently, each bifurcation leading to difficult choices between two increasingly marginal options. Eventually, there was no discernible path, so I struck uphill, finding a thin trod following the wall along the high ground. When this hit a cross-wall I followed it down into the valley bottom, where there was a gate and, once again, a path. This lead me into surprisingly tall and scratchy vegetation, but also, eventually, onto a lovely path which gradually ascended up towards the edge on Clougha Pike.

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Looking towards Caton Moor, having escaped Windy Clough.
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Looking up the edge.
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There were loads of Red Grouse about. The males were strutting their stuff and very easy to photograph, so I took lots of pictures. The females were far more discrete and only showed themselves very briefly. They’re endearing birds, if somewhat loud. It’s a shame that they’re essentially there to be shot by ‘sportsmen’.

I found a comfortable spot on a huge boulder and sat down for a brew and a rest and to contemplate the view. It was warm, but very windy, so I was surprised to see this tiny Green Hairstreak clinging to the rock.

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Because I’ve previously seen these butterflies in woodland I’d incorrectly assumed that they are woodland creatures, but apparently they are well adapted to a number of habitats, including moorland.

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Another male Grouse.
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Along the edge.
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Who you looking at?
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Meadow Pipit (I think).
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The top!
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Looking over to Hawthornthwaite Fell.
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Morecambe Bay.
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Hunkered down for another brew and a ‘meal deal’ tea.
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Looking along the edge.

After my earlier misadventure, I wasn’t dissuaded from taking another new route – I’d spotted a thin path traversing the ground just below the edge and decided that would give an interesting new perspective.

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It proved to be a very pleasant alternative to retracing the edge path, although I suspect that in winter it may well be very boggy.

Three Evening Outings